What Does the Size 15 Foot Say to the Face?

Posted by nvr1983 on January 25th, 2009

Even though they are a shell of the team that they usually are, the Arizona Wildcats have still managed to stay in the news since the end of last season. Some “highlights”:

- Lute Olson and the Arizona AD stabbed Kevin O’Neill in the back.
– Approximately 7 months after that incident, Olson retires
– Less than a month later, Jamelle Horne commits one of the dumbest fouls we have ever seen.
– Two months later, Horne tops his previous dumb play by doing the exact same thing.

Last night, in a game that I am assuming 99% of you had no idea was going on, Arizona staged a miraculous rally to beat Houston 96-90 in OT. Unfortunately for both teams, the comeback wasn’t the story. The story of the game was Houston’s Aubrey Coleman stepping on Chase Budinger‘s face.

The only thing that I can even think of that is comparable to this on the college level is Christian Laettner stepping on Aminu Timberlake‘s chest after being fouled in “The Greatest Game Ever Played”.

As bad as Laettner’s stomp was, I think going at Budinger’s face is taking it to another level. At least for Arizona’s sake, this isn’t a mess they brought on themselves. It will be interesting to see how the Houston AD handles the situation.

Update: Apparently, Coleman has issued an apology (follow the link for his “apology” since WordPress is having issues with embedding it here). I’m not buying this whole unintentional thing. The Arizona AD Budinger may have changed his story on whether or not he thinks it was intentional, but I think Coleman’s actions walking off the court are pretty strong evidence of his intent.

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05.22.08 Fast Breaks

Posted by rtmsf on May 22nd, 2008

An abbreviated version of Fast Breaks today. . .

  • If you thought nepotism was dead, think again. Mike Krzyzewski promoted his son-in-law to director of basketball operations. Nothing keeps your in-laws on leash like having the power to fire them.
  • As we mentioned almost two months ago, Arizona is going through some tough times with the transition from interim coach Kevin O’Neill back to living legend Lute Olson. However, it looks like things are more of a mess there than we previously thought. Lute has his work cut out for him and he might want to try to erase any record of his previous prediction that the Wildcats would contend for the 2009 national title, which was before Jerryd Bayless left and Chase Buddinger left and Kevin O’Neill left and Emmanuel Negedu backed out of his national letter of intent and Brandon Jennings failed to qualify academically and Nic Wise brought up the possibility of transferring. . .
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NBA Draft Preview Version 1.0

Posted by nvr1983 on May 19th, 2008

Lost in the huge O.J. Mayo scandal and the smaller Darrell Arthur scandal is the upcoming NBA Draft, which is a little over 1 month away. Unlike last year, where there was a ton of hype regarding the Draft Lottery (Note: This may have just been because I live in Boston), the day has snuck up on us. I just noticed that it would be happening on May 20th in contrast to last year where I had the time of the lottery programmed into my Treo by mid-March (thanks to an 18-game losing streak). Teams that failed to make the playoffs have the following odds of winning the #1 pick:

2008 Lottery Odds

Basically the lottery breaks down into a couple key segments:

(1) The top 2 picks: Whoever ends up with the #1 pick will have to decide between Derrick Rose and Michael Beasley. Up until the Sweet 16, it seemed like Beasley was the unanimous choice to be the #1 overall pick regardless of who was drafting at that spot. However, after being the best player on the court the last 4 games of the NCAA tournament including lighting up lottery-type talents like D.J. Augustin and Darren Collison/Russell Westbrook, Rose vaulted himself into contention. Unlike last year when there were only minor rumblings of debate over the #1 pick coming from people like Bill Simmons, I believe there is a legitimate debate over who should go #1 that will only be decided when the NBA announces who has the #1 overall pick. Do you think David Stern has noticed that Derrick Rose would be an excellent PG for Mike D’Antoni’s New York Knicks?

(2) Picks #3-6: The guys in this category are Brook Lopez, Mayo, Eric Gordon, and Jerryd Bayless. The key in this group is Lopez. He will go to whatever team needs an inside presence. I’m not completely sold on his game translating to the NBA (covered in upcoming posts), but Lopez is the only legitimate top 5 inside presence in the draft (Beasley is a combo guy). After that it seems like Mayo is the consensus top combo guard in the group although I suspect that with some good workouts Gordon and Bayless might be able to jump him. Gordon is likely being hurt a little by his precipitous drop-off in production at the end of the year while Bayless is hurt by the fact that he didn’t play in a system that fully utilized his skills in the open-court.

(3) The rest: Honestly, I have no idea on picks 7-14 and it seems like that draft experts don’t either as each one has a completely different order. The key players here are Kevin Love, D.J. Augustin, DeAndre Jordan, Darrell Arthur, Chase Buddinger, Joe Alexander, Anthony Randolph, Russell Westbrook, Kosta Koufos, and JaVale McGee along with all the internationals (Danillo Gallinari and Nicolas Batum). We aren’t even going to touch this group until the order is set because so much of it will depend on team need. The one guy that we think could jump significantly is Buddinger based on his workouts. 

The fate of franchises will be decided

We’ll have more coverage/analysis following the Lottery on Tuesday as we start to break down the players and team needs.

If you’re a fan of one of these unfortunate teams, you may find some solace in ESPN.com’s Lottery Mock Draft Generator. I know I used it quite a bit last year (getting angry every time the Celtics fell out of the top 2). This year, you guys will be playing with it while I wonder why the f- Rajon Rondo disappears on the road (rtmsf wishes Rondo showed up at all in college).

Photo Credit: http://theoldlogo.blogspot.com 

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Et tu, Lute. . .

Posted by nvr1983 on March 28th, 2008

The scene is Tucson

Normally, I wouldn’t make a separate post for a single link to a story from another site (especially one at ESPN, which doesn’t need any more hype), but I figured you might be busy watching games and may not notice this. Apparently, Andy Katz has been busy covering the rest of the college basketball world as he spoke with Lute Olson about his sabaticcal along with several other issues.

For those who don’t care to read the rather long article, here’s a quick summary:
– Took the season off to deal with stress relating to a divorce from his second wife (his first wife died of 47 years died of cancer in 2001).
– Olson will be the head coach next year and intends to fulfill the rest of his contract through 2011 and did not mention any plans of stopping after that.
– Arizona is going back on its previous oral commitment to name interim coach Kevin O’Neill as Olson’s eventual successor. O’Neill hasn’t decided what he is doing next year although he still has one year left on his contract as Lute’s assistant.
– The Wildcats will go back to their roots as a running team instead of the half-court offense that O’Neill installed this year.
– According to the article, it seems like Jerryd Bayless is seriously considering leaving while Chase Buddinger is probably returning.
– Lute is healthy contrary to previous reports, but had to stay quiet on the issue during his leave because of Arizona laws.
– He thinks they can contend for the 2009 national title.

I’ll avoid commenting on Lute’s personal life and health other than to say that he is in a lot better shape (based on what the article says) than most guys his age I have seen.

The more interesting thing is how the Arizona athletic department is basically going back on their word. I can understand wanting to go with Olson because he is a legend particularly in that area of the country. I just don’t understand why they would give O’Neill a commitment back in December. Even though the Wildcats were playing well at the point of the verbal commitment, the AD should know enough to realize that a coach’s performance isn’t judged in December.

Lute Olson is coming back for his job

The other thing I found interesting is that Olson expects to contend for the 2009 title. I guess I wouldn’t expect him to say that he doesn’t expect to contend, but going from a bubble team to champion is a stretch. It all depends on whether Bayless and Buddinger return. Going to a wide-open offense would definitely utilize their talents more than a half-court offense. I know everybody is really high on Bayless, but personally I like Buddinger’s game more and I think he will end up being a very good pro. If both come back and they add their excellent recruiting class, they will be a darkhorse contender as they lost a lot of very close games. In either case, it’s good to have Lute (and hopefully Arizona) back, but I hope that O’Neill gets a good job because this smells a lot like what Miami and Pat Riley did to Stan Van Gundy although Olson had a much better reason for taking time off.

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